Friday, April 6, 2012

Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Last year I made hot cross buns, and they were one of my first blog posts. It's nearly a year since I started this thing and I'm still not bored of talking about food. If anything, my obsession has gotten worse. However, on a positive note, I have learnt how to make bread, which is something that I always wanted to be able to do. The hot cross buns were just the beginning, and one of my favourite breads that I learnt to make was chocolate bread. It was not overly sweet and it was really yummy as toast. In New Zealand you can buy chocolate hot cross buns, because a lot of children (and adults) don't like sultanas and normal hot cross buns. So this year I am making both! My chocolate hot cross buns still have cinnamon but they have no mixed spice, and they have chocolate as well as sultanas. Of course, the sultanas could be left out but I like them so they can stay in for now.



Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

375 mL milk
60 grams butter
1 egg
1 sachet fast acting, instant yeast (for using fresh yeast, see the original recipe)
1/4 cup soft brown sugar (50 grams)
1 cup rolled oats (100 grams)
3 cups strong flour (about 500 grams), plus plain flour for kneading in
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (25 grams)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sultanas (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons water plus 1/4 cup flour (for the crosses)
1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/4 cup milk (for the glaze)

Place the milk and butter in a small bowl and heat in the microwave until the milk is warm and the butter melted. Don't let the milk boil. The liquid should only be body temperature, so if it feels very hot when you dip a finger in then let it cool a little. When it is just warm, add the egg and whisk to combine.

Place the yeast, sugar and oats into a large bowl. Sift in the flour, salt, cinnamon (and spice if you are using it) and cocoa powder. Add the sultanas, chocolate chips. Mix the dry ingredients together well.


Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix with a spoon until the dough is too tough to mix any more. Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and tip the dough out of the bowl, scraping out any bits that are stuck to the sides. Begin to knead, sprinkling more flour over if it is sticky (the dough should feel a bit tacky but it should not come away on your hands). The mixture is quite a sticky one and might need up to a half cup of extra flour added to it. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, then let it rest a little while you prepare the flour paste and the glaze.


In a small bowl, mix together the water and flour until you have a thick paste. Then, in another small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, sugar and milk. Finally, take a baking tray and either place a piece of non-stick baking paper on it, or grease it with butter. Now you are ready to make your buns.


Divide the dough into about 12 pieces, roll each into a ball and place them side by side on a baking tray. Spoon the flour paste into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag, then snip one of the corners off) and pipe crosses on the tops of each bun. Then brush the glaze over the buns with a pastry brush.


Leave the tray in a warm place until the buns have risen to double their size. I do this in the oven because my apartment is not always so warm - I turn the oven on to about 100 degrees celsius for just 5 minutes or so, then switch it off and place my dough inside. After 20 or 30 minutes the dough will have risen beautifully and be ready for baking. Because my buns are already in the oven, I simply leave them there and switch it on to about 200 degrees celsius. After another half hour or so the bread is done. However, if you are rising your dough in some warm place that is not the oven, turn the oven on to preheat about 15 minutes before you are ready to bake your bread.

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